Social Networking Gains Favor for Emergency Communications

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IP, along with advanced personal and social networking and interactive media, commonly called Web 2.0, will underpin a wide range of security applications, from internal facilities protection to public safety, according to a leading consultant.

Dan Dunkel, co-founder of New Era Associates, the lead-off speaker at the IP User Group's IP in Action security technology conference yesterday in Dallas, told an audience of integrators that a number of state and municipal agencies have turned to social networking services such as Facebook and Twitter for both general and emergency communications. The Los Angeles Fire Department, for example, was providing updates to residents on the severity and direction if brush fires during the recent outbreak. Likewise, Pacific University in Oregan is also using Twitter for emergency mass notification.

"Twitter and Facebook mean mass opportunities," Dunkel said. As new software such as Microsoft VINES develops, social networks will evolve into "societal networks," essentially groups that can self-organize within an organization.

The only factor holding back social networking use in some organizations is lack of encryption, the reason why the Department of Defense is considering a general ban on employee use of such applications (the U.S. Marine Corps already does). Social networking is not the problem, Dunkel emphasized, just the lack of data safeguards. He noted that something as basic as posting the picture and name of a pet can cause a breach, citing research that found that 85 percent of the time an individual's password is the name of a pet.

Related Links:
Security Should Steer the Enterprise Social Networking Bandwagon
Shell and Chevron Will Tweet Storm Updates 

IP, along with advanced personal and social networking and interactive media, commonly called Web 2.0, will underpin a wide range of security applications, from internal facilities protection to public safety, according to a leading consultant.

Dan Dunkel, co-founder of New Era Associates, the lead-off speaker at the IP User Group's IP in Action security technology conference yesterday in Dallas, told an audience of integrators that a number of state and municipal agencies have turned to social networking services such as Facebook and Twitter for both general and emergency communications. The Los Angeles Fire Department, for example, was providing updates to residents on the severity and direction if brush fires during the recent outbreak. Likewise, Pacific University in Oregan is also using Twitter for emergency mass notification.

"Twitter and Facebook mean mass opportunities," Dunkel said. As new software such as Microsoft VINES develops, social networks will evolve into "societal networks," essentially groups that can self-organize within an organization.

The only factor holding back social networking use in some organizations is lack of encryption, the reason why the Department of Defense is considering a general ban on employee use of such applications (the U.S. Marine Corps already does). Social networking is not the problem, Dunkel emphasized, just the lack of data safeguards. He noted that something as basic as posting the picture and name of a pet can cause a breach, citing research that found that 85 percent of the time an individual's password is the name of a pet.

Related Links:
Security Should Steer the Enterprise Social Networking Bandwagon
Shell and Chevron Will Tweet Storm Updates 

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1 Comment

Thanks for making note of the Los Angeles Fire Department in social networking, part of our "LAFD Everywhere" initiative.

Please let us know when your travels bring you to Los Angeles. There's plenty of room at our firehouse kitchen table, and always a warm cup of coffee with your name on it.

Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

Brian Humphrey
Firefighter/Specialist
Public Service Officer
Los Angeles Fire Department

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